ADEN (Reuters) - Two suspected Islamist militants shot dead a provincial military intelligence chief in Yemen on Saturday, a security official said, the latest in a series of assassinations in the impoverished state's lawless south and east.
The gunmen opened fire from a motorbike, killing Colonel Ahmed Abdulrazzaq, intelligence head in Yemen's Hadramawt Province, outside his home in Mukalla on the Arabian Sea.
Stability in Yemen is seen as important beyond the country's own borders because of its location next to top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and international shipping routes. It is also home to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which Washington says is the movement's most dangerous arm.
Around 60 military and security officials have been assassinated in southern and eastern Yemen in the past two years after an Islamist insurgency sprang up.
Militants allied to al Qaeda took advantage of Yemen's political chaos and splits in the military during mass Arab Spring protests to seize control of some southern cities.
The protests unseated President Ali Abdullah Saleh and installed an interim government which, with the help of tribal militias, pushed the militants from cities they had captured.
However, fighting between militants and pro-government forces continues throughout rural areas of southern Yemen.
(Reporting By Mohammed Mukhashaf; Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)